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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

THE BENQiLI YAX3HKA.VA.S.                                              197
down the forehead. Joined at the root of the nose and with a straight black
streak between, terminating in a round mark made with turmeric.
In addition to these four original Sarnpradayas, there are three schools of
more modern origin, called respectively Bengali, or Ganriya Yaishnavas, RJuIba
Valiabhis and the disciples of Swami Hari Das.
The first-named community has had a more marked Influence on Briada-ban
ttan aay of the others, since It was Clialtanya, the founder of the sect, whose
Immediate disciples were Its first temple builders. He was born at Nadiya in
Bengal, In 1485 A. D., and in Ms youth is said to have married a daughter of
Yailabhacharya. However that may "be? whea lie had arrived at the age of 24
lie formally resigned all connection with secular and domestic affairs and com-
menced his career as a religious teacher. After spending six years in pilgrim-
ages between Mathura and Jagannath, lie finally settled down at the latter place3
where, in I52T A.D., being then only 42 years old3 be disappeared from the
world. There is reason to believe that he was drowned in the sea, into which
lie had walked ia an ecstasy, mistaking It for the shallow waters of the JamunSj
where he saw. In a -vision, Krishna sporting -with the Gopis. His life and
doctrines are recorded in a most voluminous Bengali work entitled Chaitanya
Charitamritaj composed in 1590 by one of his disciples, Krishna Das. Two of
Ms colleagues^ Adwaitanand and Nityanand, who, like himself, are styled Maha
PrabhaSj presided over his establishments in Bengal: while other six Gosains
settled at Brinda-baiu Apart from metaphysical subtleties, which naturally have
but little hold on the minds of the populace, the special tenet of the Bengali
Yaishnavos is the all-sufficiency of faith in the divine Krishna : such faith being
adequately expressed by the mere repetition of his name without any added
prayer or concomitant feeling of genuine devotion. Thus roughly stated, the
doctrine appears absurd; and possibly its true bearing is as little regarded by
many of the more ignorant among the Vaishnavas themselves as It is by the
majority of superficial outside observers. It is, however, a legitimate deduction
from sound principles . for it may be presumed that the formal act of devotion
would never have been commenced had it not been prompted at the outset by,
a devotional intention^ which intention is virtually continued so long as the act
ia in. performance. And to qnote from a manual of a purer faith5 " it is not
accessary that the intention shonld be actual throughout; it is sufficient if -we
pray in a human manner; and for this only a virtual intention is required;
that is to say, aa Intentioa which has been actual and is supposed to continue,
although, through inadvertence or distraction^ we may have lost sight of it."
50